Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's been quiet here.

Back at home, my parents neighbor died. She baby sat me when I was growing up. When I was a teen, I baby sat her kids. I'll probably fly there for the funeral.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Xmas everyone.

It's been a good holiday. RO got to see his son again-- first time in 13 years. He is very happy. I'm sure it's much for him to process as well.

We spent much of the day at RO's sister. Ate too much. Drank too much. Played party games. Argued about party game rules. But, we had much fun in the process.

LS & DR spent the day with us. They had no holiday plans.

The old people in my life are getting old. DR is 82. My neighbor M, is also in her mid eighties. Both of them are starting to forget things. Is unfortunate to see women who two years ago were so bright and active slowly slip into dementia.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm trying to figure out what my real job is at my day job. My offical title is 'lead' I have half a dozen people working for me.

Todate I've got by by being a good role-model and coaching them around that.

Now, some of my employees are *very* smart, and *very* hard working. I can't be a good role model for them. With a little more experience they will easily surpase my skills. Then where do I fit in?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Clem and Bates held there holiday party in a train car, a restored dome care from the '40s. Good food, good people. And, since Clem and Bates were hosting, there was too much alcohol.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last night we had dinner with our neighbors, Clem & Bates. As usual, the food was wonderful and we drank too much.

Predinner martini's I always refuse to have more than one, yet Bates makes it happen.

"Oh no thank you. I don't want another martini."
"But I have have half a martini left in the shaker. Please take it!"
"Oh... all right."

Yeah, I'm weak that way.

Dinner is served with several bottles of wine. Then after dinner...

"No more wine for me thanks."
"OK! Let's switch to port."

Even if I am full, bloated, past of the point of nausea, if you put a jigger of port in front of me, I will drink it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Earin is talking to us again. Earin was our roommate a few years ago. She got behind on her rent and then moved out before paying up.

Earin works near the store and stopped in. When she saw me she sat down next to me and said she wanted to make amends and pay me back-- in the new year.
I am writing this post from my cell phone. My day job bought me a fancy new phone and I am getting addicted to it. But, I am not using it productively. I am checking Facebook every 10 minutes and work email non stop.

Thanksgiving was nice. We had dinner with family.

Today is black Friday . Sales at the store are stong. I won't get my hopes up though.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy birthday babe!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This week has been busy. RO and Boone are working late every thing trying to reopen the store in the temp location.

At my day job we rolled out a new project tracking system. The result, of course, was much complaining.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of manager I am. I don't know what my style is. I work on what I believe is important, and I try to ensure that my team has good stuff to work on. But after that...who knows.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Even though I've only been lifting weights a few times a week for a little under a month, I'm starting to see a difference. I can bench press 20lbs more than when I started. I can complete more full bicep curls in a set without struggling.

Regular exercise also helps me focus at work. I'm less twitchy and more capable of sitting still. It also helps with sleep at night, again because I'm less twitchy.

It also helps me worry less about my health.

Tommy, have you got back to the gym yet?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

RO and I spend Saturday afternoon in Everett, a navy and port city just north of Seattle. We went to see the Everett Fall Home & Gift show. The show was very small. We were in and out in under half an hour.

So we had lunch at a great pizza parlor and then walked along the water front. The winter rain is setting into Seattle, so I like to go for a short walk everytime there is a break.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mark has had a chest cold for the past week. It's not getting better. At the same time, he's not so sick that he stays in bed.

I've started lifting weights, stretching and exercising. I find that if I regularly do so, then I sleep well.

For RO, sleep is a constant battle. If he takes sleeping pills he still wakes up for a few hours in the middle of the night. If he doesn't take sleeping pills then he tosses and turns all night. He'll finally fall asleep from exhaustion at around six in the morning.

For a long time I've tried to help RO sleep better. But, to little or no success.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10th Anniversary

The blog is ten years old. Happy birthday blog.

Let's see. What was I doing ten years ago? Hmmm. whining about my love life. Life has changed so much since then.

For me it is kind of fun to spot check entries from years past. I'm sure it's dreadfully boring for everyone else.

October 2005, RO and I were just opening up the store. Man-o-man. We thought we'd be hugely successful way back then.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

I had a weak performance review at work. I'm not happy with it. But it's pointless to fight it-- that would be proof I'm looking towards the past and not planning for the future.

A weak performance review may not be the right way to describe it. I'm used to having strong reviews. Yet every time I was promoted, the competition around me grew stronger.

There is some truth to the Peter Principal. Sooner or later you reach the point where your peers are as smart and as hard working as you. Sooner or later you realise that not every one will make it to Vice President.

They've made it clear to me that my performance review is not a "Job in Jeopardy" review, but their assessment of my ability relative to my peers. Somehow, that is not that comforting.

Why do we procrastinate?

Sometimes I think it's self fulfilling. We hear from others how they put off work, or exercise and we subtly adopt those attitudes. Then we talk the same way, and that re-enforces those attitudes in others.

That may be an oversimplification.

I lifted weights today-- for the first time in a very long time. It felt good. And it's not like I put off anything fun to find the time to work out. I know there is lots of time in my life for me to exercise more. I end up watching TV instead. Bad TV. I don't enjoy most of the TV that I watch.

See how little sense my exercise procrastination makes?

Friday, October 08, 2010

It's the fall here in Seattle. Many big spiders are building webs close to warm buildings, trying to eat as much as they can before they lay there eggs and die.

In the back yard two squirrels are building a nest together. I didn't realize that squirrels could be social; in the summer they only fight. But there they were, both pulling leaves and twigs off an alder, and carrying it back to the nest.

One squirrel was very efficient, making a large leap from the nest to the alder, ripping off a large twig of leaves, and then leaping back to the nest. The other squirrel took a longer, more circuitous route to the alder, and brought back fewer leaves.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

It's been a busy week. My day job is very full. RO is working hard on re-opening the store.

Last night Clem & Bates had us over for dinner. As always, we drank too much. After decades of work, Bates finally has a schedule where he has weekends off. Good for him.

We discussed yard work. We both have large back yards on steep hills. Keeping such a yard under control is hard work. The hills are too steep to mow. RO and I try to use a brush cutter once a month to keep the bushes under control. Clem and Bates have a more shaded back yard so blackberries and other bushes don't grow as aggressively. They only need to de-bush once or twice a year.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My parents are going though hard times. They are OK, but friends and relatives are not.

They old neighbor commited suicide. He's been fighting cancer for a long time and had a morphene pack to help with the pain. He was using so much morphene that it was no longer effective.

Rather than go in for hospice care, he decided to shoot himself in the head.

My cousin's daugther, who was in a car accident six weeks ago, is still in a coma. Her father is now paralyzed from the waste down.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

RO and I have the whole weekend off. This is the first time we've had two days in a row off in a very long time-- not even Christmas since the day after Christmas the store is open.

The weather is wonderful today. It's been bright and sunny. You can tell it's the fall though. Even at lunch the sun was low in the sky. We took a long walk along Lake Washington. I thin I got more sun than I did all summer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The store is closed. Today is the last day we have to move out. The inventory and most of the valuables are out. There is still a lot of stuff, racking, shelving, boxes, that needs to move.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yesterday Andria threw a going-away party for Cann. Cann is leaving for England for a year for graduate school.

Cann leads an interesting life. I think he earned enough money during the .com boom that he doesn't have to have a job. So he dabbles in a variety of things. He directed a documentary two years ago. He photographs a lot. Occasional he'll help out with small Internet startups. Now he's off to England to study typography.

Winston Churchill once said “Take away that pudding – it has no theme.” I wonder about that as a life philosophy. I think I'll be more happy if I stick with a plan, with a theme, than chasing whims. Or, am I jealous of Cann and the freedom he has?

Monday, August 23, 2010

So the current store closes in mid September. After that the mall has offered us the space next door until January. After January, who knows.

We are trying to liquidate as much as possible right now so that we don' t have to move much. We still have many X-mass supplies which are difficult to liquidate now, but should go over the holidays.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Over sharing.

I have hairs that grow freekishly long from otherwise smooth parts of my body.

You know that area of skin below your eyebrow, but above your eyelid? I have a hair that grows there. It grows inches long. It bumps into my eyeglasses if I don't trim it regularly.

Friday, August 13, 2010

We are making some progress on the store. We've been offered a place near the existing store, it's a nice space though it doesn't have as much foot traffic as we have now.

This is a hard descision to make. It will be expensive to move and re-open. The returns are uncertain. Yet, closing down scares RO.

At my day job, the re-org is in effect and I have a new team. I like them.

This team is very different than my last team. On my last team, everyone was in their early 30's, eager to work hard and experienced enough that I didn't have to manage them.

My new team has two 'old' guys-- vetrans who have been doing this for so long that nothing phases them. They are in a bit of a rough spot. By the numbers they are less productive than most other people in my division. But, when you look at what they do you see that they do exactly that which is important, no more, no less.

There is a bitter gay guy on my team. He knows I'm gay as well.

Finally, then there are two young and inexperienced guys. They will do anything to be helpful. That's a blessing and a curse-- it's very easy to randomize them because they would rather be helpful than question me on our prioritizes. I asked one of them an offhand question and he wasn't sure of the answer. A day later he produced a huge report on the subject. He worked over time to do research and ensure I could be fully informed on the issue.

Monday, August 02, 2010

You made me look Tommy, but yes, the estimate for the house is still higher than it's purchase price.

The dead bolt on the front door gave out, the door is permanently locked. Thankfully I can still get in the back door.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The neighbors have put their house up for sale. The recession has been hard on them and they can't make the payments. They are selling it for $70,000.00 less than they bought it for. Ouch. I don't want to know what my house is worth.
RO and I are trying to figure out how we figure out what to do with the store. We have both put a lot into the store. Moving again is a lot of time, money, sweat and tears.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We are loosing our lease for the store. I don't know the details but it sounds like a large company wants our space and signed a big multi-year lease.

The mall says they want to keep our store and will offer us a good terms on the replacement space. RO learns the details on Friday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My parents, RO and I went on a wine tour around Yakima. There are dozens in wineries in that area. We tasted at four before we had enough. Some of the wineries had beautiful views of the valley. It was nice to sit down, drink some wine and watch the view.

Dad, unfortunately, doesn't really like wine. He did enjoy a tour a vineyard though.
A raccoon died in the front yard. Not sure why. This morning we saw it hiding the garden. Occasionally it would move around-- walk a few feet and then curl up in a ball.

After an hour of this, it stopped moving. RO poked it with a stick and it didn't react.

I picked it up with a garden fork, carried it the bush at the rear of the property and flug it into the bushes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

May parents are in town for the week. It's nice to see them. They are doing well. We are puttering around and spending time together, chatting, odd jobs around the house, the Kirkland Classic Car show and such.

Lately when we see each other, the conversation eventually comes around to their will and specifically, what to do with their home. My parents own a maple sugar bush and make maple syrup there every year. They have a lovely small house by the bush. It would be a shame to sell it.

It will be a struggle to keep it in the family. My parents live in the middle of nowhere. All their kids, my brothers and I, have long since moved away. The type of jobs we have are not to be found near my parents home.

If my parents live another twenty years then perhaps it could be a retirement property for my brothers and I. I could live there part of the year. I think my brothers could too.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Tommy! We'd fix you up with quality if you ever traveled this way.

Sunday, RO and I visited his family. His sister owns a house on a lake. The whole extended family gathers there on warm holidays-- uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, cousins, inlaws, ex's and friends.

At any given moment through out the day at least four people are preparing, cooking or cleaning up after smoked roasts, burgers, chickens, corn, cakes, cookies, salads, hots, sausages. This goes on non-stop from dawn to dusk. These family events are non-stop all you can eat buffets.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A creepy closeted married guy has been hanging out at the store.

Aside from RO, the store has two employees who are both are gay. The married guy has been regularly dropping by the store, flattering and cruising them and then bluntly asking for sex. Both employees are put off by him and are close to telling the married guy to bugger off.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The big reorg at my day job is close to happening. We've been planning this for months-- February. It will still be three weeks before everyone will reports to their new bosses working on their new teams.

The reality of this is starting to hit home. Some teams are punting on hard work because soon someone new will take over. Others working hard to make sure the hand off is clean. Some people haven't even thought about that yet.

July will be interesting.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good weather has finally hit Seattle. RO and I regularly enjoy wine on the deck while the sun sets.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Politics and Management II.

At work, one of the guys at my level knows he hasn't had a great year. I like this guy and don't want bad things happen to him, so I was hoping to put a good word from him into my boss.

When I started doing so, my boss quickly asked, "Who is more valuable to us, him or you?" I hate that question. It hints that unless I answer carefully, I'll be the one at the bottom of the list.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An earth quake happened near my home town in Ontario, Canada. It was a 5.0, small by west coast standards, but big for an area that rarely has them, nor is prepared for them.

No one I know is hurt. I've seen some photos of damaged buildings. Mostly it seems to be an opportunity to call friends and ask "Did you feel the earthquake!"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two of our friends celebrated their birthday's last week, so that had a large birthday dinner on Saturday. It was a great experience. Expensive, but worth it.

Afterwards RO & I went to the local bars. RO ran into a man, visiting from Arkansas whose last name was Mathews. It just so happend that RO was wearing a sweat shirt with "Mathews Inc." on it. So, RO swapped his sweat shirt for the guys shirt.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Work has been very stressfull lately. It seams that everything important is due at once.

Yesterday and today, we are 'calibrating' our employees-- evaluating all the employees for bonus, raises & promotion. It's very contentious-- one of the managers stormed out of the meeting when the debate around a particular employee didn't go the way he wanted.

I suspect today will be just as combative. Rumor has it that one of the managers has been trying to hide a failure. I work closely with the manager involved so I have to investigate, have an opinion and ultimatly take sides. If I'm not carefull, the manager in question could make it difficult for my employees to get bonus or promotions, so I have to enter this debate with backup.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rain, rain...

The weather in Seattle has been unseasonably wet. I know Seattle has a reputation for rain, but May received almost double the average May rain. June is on the same path. June usually gets 1.5 inches of rain. So far June 2010 has had 1.57 inches.

Tuesday evening, Clem & Bates were over for dinner. As usual we had a wonderful time even though we drank too much.

We all agreed that at somepoint we have to live where it's Sunny.

Tommy, how sunny is LA?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

All is busy here. I know nothing about the arraignments for RO's sister's funeral. I don't think RO knows either. RO said that when other family members have died, they were just buried with no proper funeral. Maybe that's just the way his family operates.

It's the opposite of how my family operates. Everyone who died had a wake, a funeral and a post funeral reception. Death is very social. There is some grieving, but mostly it's a somber get-together.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

RO's sister died about half an hour ago. RO said she was in a lot of pain and that it's for the best that she's gone. When RO said that I could tell he was on the verge of crying.

Monday, May 31, 2010

RO's sister has stage 4 cancer. She is refusing treatment and may be in the last days of her life.

RO is spending much time with her and trying to help in his own way. She can't chew food so he has been making her ever more elaborite smoothies with tofu and vitamin pills.

I think something has gone wrong tonight. Usually he spends a couple hours with her before he heads home. Tonight, it's getting late, and he's not returning his text's.

Be strong RO.

Friday, May 28, 2010

aex said...

That you are a solid rock in a swift stream. ... one needs solid rocks to cling
on, was the water of life rushes by.

Thank you aex, whoever you may be.

Yo won't be moving in with us. He's kept putting off his move on account of finances. RO asked for the key back. I finally found him online-- I didn't spell his last name properly. When you do that, you learn all the details.

The local newspapers used him as an example in an article about improper state oversight of sex offenders. Yo had a license for a job that allowed him to work alone with children. The state didn't revoke the license after Yo was found guilty.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I just realized that I've known Tommy Boy, ItsAllGrandLike & John for longer than all but a few of my friends. I can look this kind of stuff up with the blog.

I've known Tommy since 2001. ItsAllGrandLike & John since 2002. I've met most of my local friends since then. I think the one exception is Steven who I've known since 1999.

I still have all my old friends from Canada. But my Seattle friends come and go. Hmmm. I wonder what that says about me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

RO threw a surprise birthday party for me. It was very sweet of him.

I had worked all day and was heading home when RO called me "Come to the store" he said "my sister wants to have a drink with you." We argued for a while. I was tired and didn't want to go out for a drink, but he twisted my arm enough, so I headed back to the store.

When I got to the store, lots of people where there. It was a great evening. Too much alcohol was drunk. Other than that, everyone had a great time.

Thanks RO. Love ya babe!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Am fourth now. 40.

I wrote a long blog on the philsophy of being 40, but blogger ate it up when I clicked publish.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"ya'll sure take in some odd fellows.. ya'll have big hearts"-- Tommy

Thank you Tommy. I don't know about the big hearted part. I agree that some of our roommates are odd.

I've been thinking about that. As a philosophy, I believe you should choose your acquaintances carefully-- you become like the people you hang around. In practice my friends and acquaintances are chosen more because I like them than for their virtues. A charming fool is easier to befriend than a quiet wise man.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yo may move in with us as our new room mate. We agreeded on this a while back and he has the key. But, he's been putting off the move.

Today we learnt why. Yo is a registered sex offender. When he moves in our address will be published on the state sex offenders web site. He's been hesitent to tell us this.

I've heard Yo's side of the story. I'm trying to double check it online but I can't find him in the registered sex offender databases.

The sex offender database is fascinating. You can pull up maps that show you where the offender lives and where the nearby schools are. It includes pictures, a brief description of the charges and the risk of re-offending.

I didn't realize there were soo many sex offences. Aside from the obvious ones, rape, molestation and child porn, there mysterious ones like "Indecent liberties" and "Sexual Motivation"

I searched for my friends in the database. No dirt came back.

I'm surprised how many sex offenders offended with children. Rape of a child is uncomfortably common and not the 21yo-who-slept-with-a-17yo variety either. The majority of the offenders are white men thirty and older who did something with someone under 16. It's very creapy and depressing.

So what then to do about Yo. I would feel a little more comfortable if I could find him online, but I can't. I searched by first name and last and variations of his first name and nick names and the cities he's lived in. But no Yo. Where are you hiding Yo? What did you really do?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Tommy says "wow... one big family...interesting"

It is interesting. They like living in an extended family-- everyone from the grand parents through to the nephews and nieces under one roof. Great grandma used to live with them, but passed away last year.

They are also the first to admit there are drawbacks. You have to be good at defending your personal space and time.

If you have kids, there is always some one around to baby sit.

On the other hand, The adults have to do much co-ordination and communication. Otherwise the most lenient among them usurps their intent.

It doesn't work if one kid can only play X-Box from 7:00pm to 8:00pm while another is allowed to play after he finishes his homework.

If you buy an expensive birthday present for a niece, then you have to buy expensive birthday presents for all the nephews and nieces for the next year.

The kids also learn to work the system. If mommy or daddy won't let me have a cookie, then maybe the aunties or the uncles or grandma or grandpa will.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My brother and his wife flew in for a few days. It was a fun but short trip. Altogether we ate too much.

I worry about my brothers finances. They spend money at the drop of a hat. They live a sheltered life so they've never had to save. They live with her family and her family (grand parents, parents, brothers & sisters, nephews and nieces) all live together in one huge house.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

We are almost out of the warehouse. RO has been furiously throwing garbage out for the last two days.

The new company is moving in as we move out. They do some kind of photocopier refurbishing. The warehouse is slowly filling up with used copiers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Neily at work is being tested for cancer. It's freaked him out. He's had and beaten cancer before. Still, this is a big kick in the teeth.

He's known about this for a couple of weeks. About a weekago I noticed that he's been secluding himself and has been extra irritable. I mentioned it to him and he snapped at me, so I left him alone. Yesterday he told me what's troubling him.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It was a tiring weekend. Saturday RO and Yo worked at the warehouse while I worked at the store with Boone.

Yo is an interesting characters. He's single and as no job. He had a store near our old store, but he had to close that down.

Yo has set things up to work from anywhere. He has a mobile credit card reader and a wireless extender for his laptop si he can find and use free wireless from almost anywhere. He's taking pictures of stuff in our warehouse and posting it on eBay and Craigslist.

Saturday night RO and I went out to see Spring Thaw. RO got very drunk. On the way home he told me that he's been fooling around with a man about once a month. RO said that the man probably wanted to marry him and that he would be happy if he married this guy. RO then went on to point out some of the things that he didn't like about our sex life and what I could do to improve it.

RO sometimes mentioned that I don't often write positive things about him in this blog. He has a point, but this time he's earned it.

I'm not sure how to react to RO. I'm glad that he was open and honest with me. I don't like the direction that our relationship is taking. Maybe I'm too tired to deal with this. The store and my day job are exhausting. I could try and extract some kind of promise from RO to never do this again. Would I believe him?

Sunday RO, Yo and I worked at the warehouse. In the evening we delivered a large cabinent to a customer. I'm very happy that the delivery went well-- many things could have gone wrong-- the cabinet was 9 feet tall and barely able to fit through doors. The customers house had very twisty halls. It took much planning to get the cabinet into the room without damaging or scratching anything.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We are shutting down the warehouse and have to be out by the end of the month. We are having a warehouse sale today and it's going well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

At my day job, the team on the floor below us goes hom by 5pm every day.

I kind of want to work for them.

Their administrator has a big candy bowl outside of her door. It's always full of good candy. I raid it every night at 5:05 pm.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

RO is hiding more injury from me. I think that he's cracked a rib. He denies it. When I mentioned it he changed the subject. But, he acts like a man with a cracked rib.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

At my day job, I often wonder where I am in the pecking order. I don't believe I'm that high up and I've said so to a few people who have worked with the company. Those people have rolled their eyes or laughed.

But lately I've noticed that I get special treatment without me directly asking for it. Proper requests that are ignored when most people ask, are immediatly answered if I do the same.

One of the guys that reports to me has been trying to take a course for a long time. This course has a long waiting list for it. The guy asked me if I knew how much longer he'd have to wait. He'd emailed the organizers but got no response. I wasn't sure either, so I emailed the same organizers and asked. The organizers immediately respond saying "Oh, since you asked, he can go to the next offering."

I kind of like this.
BeefInBriefs was over for dinner. It was good to see him again.

For the first time, probably in his life, he is getting his own apartment. BIB has always been a roommate. When I first met him, I was a room mate in a large house on Cap Hill. For the past six years he's been the roommate of a couple who lives a few miles from RO and I.

Now he's getting his own apartment. It will be easier for him to have dates over. It will be easier for him to cook for himself.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Forbidden Zone... The Forbidden Zone... Who recommended that I watch the Forbidden Zone? Step forward and get your spanking.

As a movie, Forbidden Zone is bad. It succeeds as a musical, or as an act of unrestrained creativity. The music is very good. The screen is full of the bizarre and original. This is what happens when very talented, very creative people get together and make a movie with no budget and no script. As I watched Forbidden Zone, my jaw dropped and I constantly thought "What the Hell!" But, I never wanted to stop looking. It's endlessly inventive.

I finished watching the documentary about the Forbidden Zone. It makes a little more sense now. The Forbidden Zone is a series of musical numbers and performance art pieces. The plot was added afterwards.

RO and I saw the Forbidden Zone through Netflix which recommends movies based on your ratings. We couldn't decide what to rate Forbidden Zone. Should it be either one star, or five? Five stars because it is distinct, original and endlessly watchable. One star because it is a piece of crap. It's like watching an accident that doesn't end. You know that what you are watching isn't good, but you can't look away.

Roger Ebert likes to give great trash two and a half stars. The idea being that great movies come along so rarely that there must be room for great trash. In that spirit RO and I gave Forbidden Zone three stars.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Matt and Pat have moved out. They've been wanting to for a while-- as big as our house is, things were a bit crowded with the four of us-- but I didn't expect it to happen so suddenly. They found an apartment availble April 1 that had two months of free rent.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I'm amused and annoyed by RO.

RO has had a sore throat for a while. About a week ago he learnt that the sore throat was probably caused by an infected molar and that he needed the molar removed.

He made an appointment, but didn't tell me anything, not the cause of the sore throat, not that he was scheduled to have his molar removed.

This morning, while I'm at work, he called me and asked for some extra cash because he's going to the dentist and the dentist bills up front. We will be reimbursed by insurance later. I thought that was weird, but I gave him my credit card number over the phone.

Then, finally, when I talked to him this afternoon, he told me he just had his molar removed! I asked him point blank if he knew last week ago that his molar needed to be removed. He said yes. He said that he didn't tell me because he didn't want me worry about anything or go out of my way to take care of him.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I may have to set up house rules for Matt, Pat, RO and I. Lately we've been making katty comments to each other over who hasn't emptied the dishwasher lately, picked up their garbage, cleaned the kitchen or vacuumed. I was hoping a solution would appear with intervention, but so far no luck.

We still all get along fine, the the honeymoon over living with Matt and Pat is over and the realities of living with roommates has set in.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Today the mayor showed up for the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the new story. The ceremony was fast, but it was pleasant.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Matt's been cleaining up. Matt & Pat's rooms are starting to look nice.

And after a dry spell, the store has started having strong days. The last week of February and the first week of march were *very* scary. We had days with no sales. All that changed about mid last week. Whew. RO has been working his ass off to make good things happen. I have to figure out how to reward him with a little relaxation.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tommy said "Ya'll are far more better friends to go the distance with the Poop!!!"

Yeah. We are not going that much farther with the dog. My mother mentioned, more than once, that if the dog was at her house, it would be living outside. And Pat dislikes the dog. He's started calling her "The Terrorist" and "Satan's Spawn" He'll say it in a very sweet voice while he's petting her.

Matt may be in a funk, or he may still be getting over tonsillitis. Either way he spends all day alone in his room watching TV. I'm going to try and have a chat with him about his motivation. I'll have to do so very carefully. He is smarter than the average bear. If he detects that I have an agenda, he'll say what I want to hear but he won't follow through.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The poop! The poop!

Matt's little dog occasionally has diarrhea problems.

A couple of weeks ago, Matt & Pat bought a nice new comforter for their bed. The first night they slept with it, the dog slept on top. In the middle of the night Pat rolled over. Then he wolk up, feeling wet. And it smelt. They turned on the light and there was doggie diarrhea all over the comforter. Pat said there was more diarreah than the volume of the dog.

Last weekend Matt noticed that his little dog had diarrhea. Rather than letting the dog roam during the night, he locked it in the bathroom. The dog, not used to being alone, whimpered and barked a lot.

The barking wolk me up, so I went to check on it. I opened the door a crack and the smell hit me. I didn't want to get involved so I closed the door and left.

A while later RO did the same thing. RO said there was shit everywhere. It was like someone finger painted with shit over every square inch of the tile floor.

The next morning whan RO at Pat talked about the dog, Pat said that while the floor may have looked like finger paitings at first, by the morning there was an even coat of shit everywhere.

Matt spent two hours scouring the bathroom.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I understand a little more why my Director was happy I joined the new team. Apparently, I'm the only manager on the team who can fire people.

My Director has never fired anyone. My new boss (who reports to my director) prefers to shuffle problem employees off to the side. My peer managers include a nice new guy who has never been a manager before and a very bright and experienced manager who took the job on the condition that he wouldn't have to immediatly manage out any of his new employeees-- including one who is having performance problems.

That leaves me. I don't enjoy firing people, but I have done so and I can do so. I have to make sure that this doesn't become my job function. I want to run an A-list team, not the team where problem employees go to be managed out.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mom is flying in tonight. She's spending 10 days here. She's flying into Vancouver instead of Seattle. I hope the Olympics don't make picking her up a nightmare.

Other than that, the stores offical Grande Opening is this Saturday. It will be an exciting day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yesterday afternoon RO had a customer with a design emergency. A company hired him to decorate and furnish some rooms for a very important event. But, it had to be done by 8am the next morning

We suspected trouble-- in the past people in similar circumstances buy a lot and then return everything the next day. We told them there would be a 15% restocking fee. They were uncomfortable with that, but agreed.

10pm that night they purchased and picked up $8000.00 in furniture and art.

By 10am the next morning they returned $4000.00 of their purchase.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I work with an Asian Indian who has a repetitive stress injury. She can't properly type now. To get by dictating documents and emails, she uses voice recognition software.

The voice recognition program doesn't recognize her Indian accent so she has switched to a fake Boston accent. It's great fun listening to her. She is getting very good at it.

I'm used to her speaking in refined British-Indian English. When she says something with a sloppy, nasal, Boston accent, everyone within ear shot smiles.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I have accepted a job-- it's the move to the smaller, very smart org that's focused on infrastructure.

I heard through the grape vine, that even though my director was very grumpy today, he was slightly less grumpy when he learnt of my choice.

Funny. I just realized that even though this my job and my choice, the feelings that I wrote down first were about my director's indirect approval. I completly skipped my feelings and desires.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Today I walked into Matt & Pat's bathroom. It's right next to the laundry room and I was doing laundry.

The sink was surrounded by dildo's and butt plugs, all washed off and air drying.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, February 05, 2010

This re-org is an interesting dance. Another position was offered to me today. I talk with that manager next week.

I'm not the only lead that these positions are available to. The longer I wait, the more leads they will make offers to. This creates a game of musical chairs. I don't know who I'm playing against, but with each passing day an offer could be snapped up by someone else. I think I have till Wednesday for two of the jobs. The third could vanish shortly.

Is it respectful that I am taking a week for this? Will someone interpret me not making a snap decision as lake of passion for the offer? I had a chat with one of higher-ups about my career. He is very smart and it did help, but I also felt a like I was under the microscope. At one point he said "I hear you talk more about managmenent than about leadership... let's dig into that."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I am learning more about my career choices. My first choice, to stay where I am, isn't as open as I thought.

First, some explanation. My organization is going through a big re-org. I am a lead-- the lowest level of boss at this company. People report to me. Above leads are managers- leads report to managers. Above the managers are directors.

For a variety of reasons, mostly personality conflicts, my current manager was recently assigned a new lead. This means my manager will have more leads than any other manager. With this new lead, my manager probably doesn't have enough head count to fully staff his leads.

On top of that, some of the other managers are short staffed and looking hard for new leads.

That's how my name came up. I have worked for the product for years and am familiar with much of the the people and technology. They think I'm more likely to succeed in a new position than most of my peers.

My manager made it clear that if I wanted to stay, he would find a way to load balance the work. But that if I found one of the other offers interesting, I should feel free to pursue it and not feel obligated to him.

At least that's what they tell me. I do believe them-- if my director didn't trust me, then I wouldn't have a job.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I'm sifting through my career choices...

First choice, I stay where I am. I will be the most senior and experienced. The business around this area is better understood, though not that glamorous. My two manager don't have that much experience in this area, so I will really have a chance to shine, or fail spectacularly. I'm a little worried that my two managers are not that strong. I won't have the most learn here, but I will have the chance to make a big contribution to a profitable, but boring organization.

Second choice. I move to a very sharp org. I will working with very strong engineers and very smart management. We will work on infrastructure. I will be judged more on my engineering acumen than my business skills. This is a smaller org, but very visible and important.

Third choice. I move to an exciting, dynamic, Web 2.0, we-don't-know-what-we-are-doing-yet org. We have a chance to really make something big here. We could also end up making some kind of pie-in-the-sky, freaky Facebook/Twitter ripoff that no one uses. The engineers are fairly smart, though not as smart as my second choice. My managers are smart, though one is rather irritating-- people avoid working with him. This will be the nosiest and most frustrating org, but the opportunity could be the greatest.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Something strange is happening at work today. I know a large re-org is in the works. I don't know all the details. However today, within twenty minutes of each other, two managers asked me if I'd consider being a lead under them. Hmmm.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The store is doing ok. January sales are healthy. We still have to work long and hard, but things are looking up. We have some cash in the bank account and can catch up on some of the bills.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

C2 is going back to Iraq. He is intown visiting family and friends.

It sounds like his plan is to stay in Iraq as long as possible, which is probably two more years. The money is too good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The nice thing about the old espresso machine is that it just worked the same way every time. If it didn't work, I just needed to plug it in. If it was seven in the morning and I wanted my coffee, it never blinked an error codes at me, tricking me into spending 15 minutes reading the manual only to discover that it just needed more water.

C2 is in town for the week. He is taking his earnings from Iraq and buying properties. He's bought a property on the Hood Canal and he is looking at condo's on Capital Hill. Good for him.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I have to admit that the espresso machine is very nice. You hit a button. A minute later a shot of espresso squirts out. The machine takes care of the grinding, tamping and brewing.

We are all a little over cafinated right now.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Matt found a $1000.00 automatic espresso maker on Craigslist for $200.00. He's driving over to pick it up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

RO things that Matt spends $200.00 a day on stuff. I think it's more like $50.00. Regardless, every day when we come home Matt has bought something new. A new cell phone. Ikea desks. A gallon of chocolate. A bread knife. An enameled dutch oven. A USB hub. Books. Stuff. Frivolous stuff.

RO is trying to talk to Matt about his shopping and to encourage him to save a little for emergencies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I enjoy having Matt and Pat as room mates. There are downsides-- there is too much stuff in the house right now and its starting to look like a bunch of pack rats live there.

But there are also upsides. Someone different to talk to. More people to share the cooking and cleaning. Matt can be a great cook and has been making fresh bread most every day.

I sit all day at work, so I like to take a good walk in the evening. RO stands all day, so he likes to relax all evening. I usually end up walking alone. Now that Matt and Pat have moved in, Matt likes to walk with me after dinner, and Pat likes to chat wtih RO. Perfect.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, RO & I hung out with Matt & Pat. We had dim sum and traveled on the Seattle's new Link Light Rail.

The stops on the train are interesting, but not in a good way. For some reason two thirds of the stops are to Seattle's poorer neighborhoods. If I picked a stop at random and told a friend I went there, he'd probably make a joke about buying drugs.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I worry about Matt and Pat.

Matt is having income problems. He's an independant contractor with few customers. Customers who reguarly don't pay him on time. About every 2nd month he can't pay his rent on time because he's flat broke.

Pat doesn't have a work visa and is living on savings.

They regularly tell us how they are cutting back on expenses to save money. Yesterday they bought a big flat screen TV. They say the will eat at home more to save money. Starbucks is just down the road and our espresso machine is too old and manual for them.

This ends badly for someone. I hope it's not me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Matt is dating someone new-- Pat.

Maybe dating is an understatment. Matt has been seeing Pat for a couple of months. Pat just moved into our house.

There are some logistics problems with their relationship. Pat is not an citizen. He is here on a travel visa which runs out in three months.

I guess Matt is not afraid of dramatic relationships.

We are charging them a little lower rent with the intent that Pat will clean.

Pat is a very nice guy. I hope it all works out for them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Last night we had drinks at the neighbors. It was good to see them again. They are off to Brazil next week.

An old friend of theirs was over. I don't know if friend is the right word. They met this guy 20 years ago, lost touch, and then recently re-met. The guy only briefly mentioned why they lost touch for 20 years-- he spent three years in prision and did a lot of drugs.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How did this happen? For Christmas my parents sent me two pairs of nice Alpaca wool socks. I like them very much. I like my Christmas socks. They are my favorite gift. Now I find I don't want cheap socks. I want expensive, gentle wash cycle only, nice socks.

Is this what's in store for me my 40's? Slowly I'll become more minimalist but the few possessions that I own will be expensive.

RO says I should have realized that I was all grown up at least five years ago.